Over the objections of Hizbullah, the government of Lebanon voted Sunday to ask parliament to OK plans for a UN tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Hizbullah was offered a delay in the voting if its cabinet members who quit earlier this month would return, but they did not. Analysts warned that the move raises the dispute between pro- and anti-Syrian factions to a dangerous level, and a Hizbullah spokesman said his organization's option to "confront the government" would be exercised at a time and place to be decided. The cabinet's decision came on the heels of last week's assassination of anti- Syrian Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, although new Prime Minister Fuad Siniora insisted that it should not be seen as a "provocation" against Hizbullah. Senior Syrians have been implicated in Hariri's murder.
In Istanbul, an estimated 25,000 people heeded a call by a Muslim political party to demonstrate to Pope Benedict XVI that he is not welcome in Turkey Tuesday. Still, the Vatican said he'd go through with a planned tour of the city's famous Blue Mosque, which would be his first visit to an Islamic worship site since becoming pontiff last year. The demonstration Sunday was organized by the Felicity Party, which says it was offended by the pope's use – in a speech two months ago – of a historical quotation critical of the prophet Muhammad's teachings. Benedict has expressed regret for the remarks, which touched off protests across the Islamic world. Turkey is 99 percent Muslim, although it is officially a secular republic.
More than 300 public schools in southern Thailand's Pattani Province will not reopen until further notice after another weekend of violence, education officials said. Ninety-six schools in neighboring Yala Province also closed indefinitely late last week because of attacks blamed on Muslim separatists. Nine more people were killed in incidents Saturday and Sunday despite repeated efforts by the new government to make peace in the region a priority. The Defense Ministry said the separatists have rejected offers of negotiations and that the stepped-up attacks are designed to discourage residents from regarding the government's overtures favorably as well.
Justices of the Supreme Court in Congo will announce their ruling Monday on losing candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba's challenge to the Oct. 29 presidential election outcome, reports said. Bemba, who lost to incumbent Joseph Kabila by a 16-point margin in that runoff, contends that voting was marred by massive fraud. His lawyers already have called the high court's deliberations in the case "a farce."
Chaos returned to the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico, over the week end as police fought with protesters demanding the resignation of state Gov. Ulises Ruiz. The violence was the worst since federal troops and police forced their way into the colonial city last month to quell the conflict that had been raging since May. At least nine demonstrators were hurt Saturday and dozens of others were arrested. The streets were littered with burned-out cars; four government buildings also were firebombed. The situation will be one of the most pressing problems confronting President-elect Felipe Calderón after he is inaugurated Dec. 1.
Government troops were back in control of a major city in Chad Sunday, apparently retaking it from rebels without firing a shot. Abeche, 440 miles east of the capital, N'djamena, had been looted extensively by fighters of the Forces for Development and Democracy (UFDD) before they fled, however. The city is a distribution center for humanitarian aid to refugees from the violence across the border in Sudan's Darfur region. A UFDD leader told Agence France-Presse that its strategy is to attack cities and then withdraw, inflicting casualties on government troops and then compelling them to hold the territory once they've retaken it.
Fifty-three more workers died and six others were missing after two new coal-mining accidents in China, the Xinhua news agency reported Sunday. Both involved explosions of gas. They were the fifth and sixth such accidents involving fatalities this month in China. In October, at least 345 miners were killed in explosions, fires, or flooding.